As a quick overview for those not in the know, an Experience in Second Life can be almost any immersive / interactive environment within SL where the user needs to provide permissions for objects, etc., to interact with their avatar. Experience Keys mean that anyone wishing to participate in any activities suited to the use of Experience Keys need only give their assent once, thereafter, actions within the Experience which affect their avatar happen automatically – teleports, attaching a HUD or item of equipment, etc. – without any need for user approval (although notification of so actions may still be displayed in the viewer window).
The Experience Keys project viewer – version 22.214.171.1241846 at the time of writing – is available from the Alternate Viewers wiki page, includes a number of key UI updates which are used alongside experiences in Second Life, and which apply to those creating experiences, those using experiences, and those who allow experiences to run on their land.
Please note that until server-side support for Experience Keys is fully deployed across the main grid (Scheduled to complete on Thursday July 17th, some elements of the viewer will not function on BlueSteel or LeTigre RC regions – for example, searching for experiences will not return any result if you are on a region running on either of these two RCs).
The Experiences Floater
Within the Experience Keys project viewer, this is accessed via Me > Experiences (no toolbar button or keyboard shortcut with the project viewer), and provides the means for users to locate experiences in Second Life, manage the experiences they have encountered during their travels through Second Life or which they have created or contributed to, and also check any actions any given Experience has performed on their avatar. It comprises five individual tabs.
Allows you to locate experiences in SL by all or part of their name and filtered by maturity rating. The tab also includes an option to view the profile for an Experience (see below).
Allowed / Blocked
These two tabs allow you see those experiences you have either allowed – that is, you’ve granted permission to – and those you’ve blocked. A blocked experience is one in which you have refused to participate and have blocked it so that you will no longer be prompted to join it whenever you visit a region / parcel where it is active (until such time as you choose to revoke the block).
Each tab displays a list of experiences by name. Clicking on a name will display the relevant Experience Profile (see below).
Admin, Contributor and Owned
These three tabs respectively display:
- Those experiences for which you have been made an administrator of (via a special group role called Admin). Administrators are those people assigned by the creator of an experience who can edit the Experience Profile
- Those experiences for which you have been made a contributor (via a special group role called Contributor). Contributors are those people assigned by the creator of an experience who can contribute scripts and objects to an experience
- Those experiences you have created and own. While an experience can be a collaborative piece – hence the Admin and contributor roles – one avatar must be the designated owner of an experience and hold overall responsibility for it.
This tab allows you to see the actions (events) taken on your avatar by any experiences in which you’ve recently participated. It includes a number of additional options:
- Notify: turn-on on-screen notifications for a given event – so if you wish to be notified each time your avatar is animated by any experience, for example, you can use this button
- Profile: display the Experience Profile for the experience associated with the event
- Report: will open the Abuse Report floater, which has been pre-populated with the relevant information, allowing you to instantly file an Abuse Report against an event / object which is causing grief / harassment
- Notify All Events: checking this will cause all on-screen notifications for events within any experience to be displayed by the viewer
- Days: the total number of days history of events you wish the tab to display
- Clear: clear the event list
- < and >: page through the list.
The Experience Profile provides the following information on any given Experience:
- The experience name
- A short description
- An image (if provided)
- The maturity rating for the experience
- The experience owner
- The group associated with the experience
- A link to any associated Marketplace store
In addition, the Profile contains four buttons:
- Allow: will add the Experience to your list of allowed experiences without you having to actually visit it and agree to participate. When visiting experiences allowed in this way, you will not see any invitational dialogue boxes displayed, because the system will already consider you a participant. Note that if you have already participated in the experience, this button will be grayed-out
- Block: will add the Experience to the list of those you have blocked, so that you will not be bothered with any invitational dialogues when visiting regions / parcels where it is running – although you also won’t be able to participate in it until such time as you unblock it. Note that if you have already blocked the experience, this button will be grayed-out
- Forget: If you have previously added an Experience to either your Allowed or Blocked list, this button will remove it from whichever list it appears on. This means that for a previously allowed Experience, you will have to once again agree to participate in it when you next visit, and for a previously Blocked Experience, you will receive invitational dialogues on visiting it once more, allowing you to participate in it, if you’ve changed your mind.
- Report: opens the Abuse Report floater, which has been pre-populated with the relevant information, allowing you to instantly file an Abuse Report against an event / object which is causing grief / harassment.
The Experience Profile can be viewed in a number of ways, e.g:
- From any tab in the Experiences floater where the Experience name is displayed as link
- From the name of the Experience as displayed in any invitational dialogue which is displayed in your (Experience Keys enabled) viewer
- Via the View Profile button in the Search tab of the Experiences floater.
Region / Estate and About Land
As well as the above, the Region / Estate and About Land floaters in the viewer has also been updated with a new Experiences tab. These allow the landowner to control which Experiences can run on the land by adding them to the correct list:
- Allowed: the Experiences listed are allowed to run on all regions in the estate (Region / Estate floater) or on the parcel (About Land floater), if not blocked at the estate level
- Blocked: the grid-wide experiences listed are blocked from running on all regions in the estate (Region / Estate floater) or the listed Experiences are blocked from the parcel (About Land floater)
- Trusted (Region / Estate floater): the listed Experiences are allowed to run on all regions in the estate, and participants in the Experience are allowed to access the estate regardless of any access controls, but only so long as they are participating in the Experience (see below).
- Experiences with a higher maturity rating that a region / estate will be automatically blocked from running on any part of that region / estate
- Because non grid-wide Experiences must be white listed via the Allowed list in order to run on an estate, there is no need to block such Experiences via the block list; if they’re not on the Allowed list, they won’t run on the estate
- Similarly, because grid-wide experiences are designed to be just that – grid-wide – there is no need to explicitly allow such experiences on an estate. Instead, they only need to be blocked if you do not wish to have them running on your estate.
A Note on Trusted Experiences
As noted above, Trusted Experiences are those experiences an estate owner is allowing on the estate regardless of any access controls enforced on the estate. This means that anyone participating in such an Experience can access the estate’s regions, regardless of whether or not they are on the access list. However, should they revoke the experience while on the estate (e.g. click the Forget button on the Experience Profile), they will immediately be teleported out of the estate, as per the estate’s access controls.
Scripting Related Updates
The viewer also contains the following scripting related updates for experiences:
- The script editor has controls to associate a script with an Experience and to view the profile of the Experience a script is associated with. The controls are only enabled if the resident is an Experience Contributor.
- The properties floater for a script has a link to the Experience it is associated with, if any.
Joining an Experience
Aside from viewing the floaters described above, the viewer operates in exactly the same way as any other viewer, the only other noticeable difference you are likely to see is when encountering an active Experience or gateway to an experience. When this happens, a dialogue box is displayed which gives information on the experience (this may occur automatically, such as when arriving at a landing point or on collision with and invisible phantom prim, or it might be the result of having to click an information giver or similar, depending upon how the Experience is configured).
If you are using a viewer that is Experience Keys enabled (such as a the project viewer), this dialogue box will include a link to the Experience Profile (by clicking the Experience name link), and buttons to accept / refuse the Experience or to block the Experience (so you’ll never see a prompts anywhere for it again) or to block just the current inviter.
If you are using a viewer that has not been updated with Experience Keys support, the dialogue box will only allow you to accept / refuse participation in the Experience.
Note that when participating in an experience, nothing as actually stored by the viewer itself, all of the relevant information is stored server-side in a special database associated with each Experience. Also, anything attached to your avatar as part of an Experience is not added to your inventory – it forms a Temp Attachment and is removed and deleted when you leave any parcel / region running that specific Experience / should you opt to stop participating in the Experience.
Do remember that the Experience Keys project viewer is just that – a project viewer. The final capabilities and options may be different to how they are presented in the current version. For example, there is already a request that the Region / Estate floater includes an option to block all grid-wide experiences, rather than having to block them individually by name, to help those estate owners who do not want any grid-wide experiences running on their regions.
Similarly, a request has also been made to allow land owners to set there land so that only the scripts associated with allowed experiences will run, thus helping to prevent cheating in games through the use of scripted objects.
Obviously, it remains to be seen if such ideas will be implemented as the tools in the viewer are developed. In the meantime, this overview will hopefully act as a useful introduction to the viewer’s Experience options.